Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

A War in the Gulf Would Be on Iran’s Shoulders

Al-Sharq al-Awsat, London, June 16

A wide host of world leaders recently called for a lowering of tensions in the Middle East. Chinese President Xi Jinping claimed that “nobody wants to see a war in the Gulf.” So did the president of the United States, the prime minister of Japan, and several representatives of the European Union. Even the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, made similar remarks. But words are one thing and actions are another. If we take a close look at the behavior of each one of the actors I mentioned above, it quickly becomes clear that the only country that does not stand by its words is Iran. Iran has no intention in reducing tensions in the Gulf. Even if we ignore its rhetoric and its involvement in other countries’ internal affairs, Tehran’s actions still provide ample reason for concern. Just last week, its Houthi militias in Yemen blew up a major pipeline transporting oil to Saudi Arabia. A few weeks earlier, satellite imagery revealed that four Emirati ships had been targeted by Iranian missiles in the Gulf of Oman. And the list goes on and on. Each one of these examples alone would suffice to understand that Iran is actively trying to stir the pot and lead to a full-scale war in the Middle East. Therefore, its statements about the need to reach a diplomatic resolution with the United States are simply not credible. Everything Iran has been doing to date suggests that war is coming to our region. If the mullahs continue with their aggressive policies, the moderate Arab world will have no choice but to resort to war. In the case of most countries, war is an option of last resort. In Iran’s case, it seems to be the preferred option. – Salman al-Dossari (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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